The Defender of Rights Claire Hédon demanded Friday “the withdrawal” of the controversial article of law which provides for prohibiting the filming of the police for a malicious purpose, which she considers “useless” and potentially harmful to control the action of the police and gendarmes.
If Ms. Hédon recognized “a step forward”, after the announcement by the government of a rewrite of this controversial article, the text “still worries”. “I think the only solution is to withdraw (the article), because in fact it is useless,” she said on BFMTV.
“In our legislative arsenal today (…) we can punish people who maliciously use the videos they shoot”, she argued.
Ms. Hedon thus recalled the 2019 conviction of a young girl by the Versailles Criminal Court, because she “filmed the police constantly and put it on social networks for no reason”.
Article 24 of the “comprehensive security” bill is due to be adopted in the National Assembly on Friday. It plans to penalize one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros for the dissemination of “the image of the face or any other element of identification” of a police officer or a gendarme in intervention when it has for aim to “undermine his physical or mental integrity”.
Faced with the controversy it has aroused, the government has announced that it wants to amend this text in order to specify “that the envisaged provisions will not constitute an obstacle to the freedom to inform”.
“This article, it is not acceptable”, insisted Mrs. Hédon, recalling that the videos shot during interventions of the police forces are “very useful” to the Defender of the rights “when there are slippages of the security forces”.
“If we want our population to regain confidence in its police, which is absolutely essential, we must recognize it and there must be sanction” when such cases are identified, she added.
The Defender of Rights also protested against the statements of the Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, who invited journalists to warn the authorities before covering a demonstration. It is about an “attack on the freedom of the press, absolutely, without a doubt”, she cracked.
“It is important that the press can continue to do its job and until the end of the demonstrations”, she added, after the arrest of several journalists Tuesday in Paris at the end of a rally against the law ” global security “.